My Experience With Kaplan NCLEX Prep
The intended purpose of this article is to describe my personal experiences with the four-day live Kaplan NCLEX prep review and the online Kaplan Qbank. To keep a long story short, Kaplan offers an excellent review of test-taking strategies.
I'll reveal some important information that will allow readers to paint a clearer mental picture of my situation. I graduated from a 12-month LVN program in late 2005 and passed the NCLEX-PN with the minimum of 85 questions on my first attempt by self-reviewing with the Saunders Comprehensive book. After working as an LVN in the long term care setting for three years, I went back to school in 2009 and was granted an associate of science degree in nursing after having graduated from an RN completion program in March 2010.
I enrolled in an RN bridge program at a private for-profit school that offered its students a substandard nursing education and had reliably low first-time NCLEX pass rates. This specific school of nursing had a first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate of 47 percent in 2007. The 2008 first-time pass rate increased only marginally to 56 percent, and the 2009 pass rate of 59 percent was not that much better. In case you are curious, the state board of nursing eventually placed this nursing program on warning status as a result of the poor NCLEX-RN pass rates of its graduating students.
The directorial folks who ran the RN completion program that I attended had arranged for all graduating nursing students to attend a four-day live prep review as a way to combat the consistently low pass rates. In addition, all students had access to the online Kaplan Qbank filled with NCLEX-style questions for home practice. I attended the live four-day review course in March 2010.
The instructor of the live review course was an older RN with many years of experience. Although she was somewhat patient with the knowledge gaps of the student body during the first day, I perceived that she was becoming increasingly frustrated as the final days passed since she was having to explain basic facts and concepts that virtually all graduating nursing students should already know. For example, the vast majority of my classmates could not identify the telltale signs of autonomic dysreflexia. And one of my classmates asked, "Is asthma contagious?" Yes, she really asked that question!
The people who prepare the Kaplan NCLEX prep review materials seem to place a huge emphasis on learning test-taking strategies for answering higher level (application and analysis level) questions. To accomplish their mission, the Kaplan Decision Tree offers an organized method of approaching all NCLEX-style questions. The instructor of the live review course used the Decision Tree with each and every question, and it was utilized on the online Kaplan Qbank.
I passed the NCLEX-RN in May 2010 with the minimum of 75 questions on my first attempt. I should also mention that I attended a four-day live Hurst Review in early April 2010 because I felt I needed more of a content review. Some would say that I over-prepared, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, especially when your school of nursing has a history of horrid NCLEX pass rates.
In summary, Kaplan offers excellent strategies for answering questions at the application and analysis level. However, since I needed a review of basic nursing content due to my shoddy nursing education, I feel that the Hurst Review helped me the most. So my belief is that Kaplan provides a great test-taking strategy review, whereas Hurst offers an amazing nursing content review.Last edit by Joe V on Nov 20, '12
About TheCommuter, BSN, RN Moderator
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.
Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 38,035; Likes: 69,338
CRRN, now a case management RN; from US
11 year(s) of experience in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psychNov 21, '12Good post, I agree, Kaplan is great with strategies, it really helped me with the nclex. I also felt their questions were close to the nclex type. I heard good things about hurst but couldn't due to cost so i did saunders comprehensive for content.Nov 21, '12Kaplan's program is wonderful! It takes some getting use to, but once you get the decision tree down pact its great. I passed the NCLEX-RN examination last week with 75 questions! It was my first try. The exam felt exactly like I was doing Kaplan. If you do all of the qbanks, trainers, attend all sessions, and review content videos where necessary, any student can be well prepared!Nov 21, '12Quote from RN_4_ChristCongratulations on your success with NCLEX!I passed the NCLEX-RN examination last week with 75 questions! It was my first try.Nov 22, '12Kaplan was awesome! Question banks helped me identify my weak areas, practice answering difficult NCLEX questions I didn't know the answer to, and allowed me to track my progress/improvement. I knew my scores from answering questions on Kaplan and was able to judge how prepared I was for NCLEX based on that. I would recommend Kaplan to everyone. The question banks on the computer were worth every dime!Nov 28, '12Congratulations! This was such an informative article. I am taking my NCLEX-PN in about 2 months and I was really stuck on which program would best help me to properly prepare. Now I know. Good stuff!Nov 28, '12I am in hope someone may help. I have been researching different study methods for the nclex exam. I will be taking it for the second time. My concern has evolved into confusion. I have gone through my review book where I have found my points of weakness. Although, this confusion about each study methods has me wanting to memorize questions instead of knowing them. Reading the rationales is helpful but when I go back to the questions I know the answer. I got onto VIPRA MEDICAL website as way to answer other questions and found it to be parallel to the nclex questions. Again I am remembering the question not knowing them. Can anyone offer suggestions or explain why my brain wants to memorize not know the questions?Dec 6, '12whatever works for you men. as long as you achieve your objective. i wish I can remember any thing i read in past two days--
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